On the evening of April 9, Kelsea Ballerini shared a poll on Twitter posted by another user that asked “Which female artist are you most looking forward to seeing perform at this year’s #ACMAwards?” The poll included Ballerini, Maren Morris, Lauren Alaina and Kelly Clarkson. In an accompanying note, Ballerini shared her thoughts on the poll, adding that it made her “really bummed.”
— Kelsea Ballerini (@KelseaBallerini) April 10, 2018
Ballerini explained that the “seemingly harmless” poll is part of a larger problem that pits women against one another. It sends the message that there’s a limited amount of spots available for female artists in the country music industry, she says.
“Since I put out my first single over 4 years ago, every interview includes some form of question about the females in country music…or the current lack thereof,” Ballerini wrote. “So we swim upstream and wear ourselves out trying to be heard and finally see the charts start to mention a few more of our names, the categories recognize a few more of our songs, and even start to cheer each other on. But then there’s something as simple and seemingly harmless as this, that sets us back. It takes the dozens of talented, determined, hard working, kind women that want to continue the incredible marks on the genre the women before us have made, and it makes us feel like there’s only one spot available.”
Read More: Where Are the Women on Country Radio?
Ballerini makes a great point. It’s already a given that male artists will be well-represented on stage at the ACM Awards. In an industry where male artists are given ample time to develop their careers while women have to fight to be heard, asking viewers to chose between female artists is unhelpful and potentially damaging.
Ballerini went on to explain that putting female artists in competition with one another compromises the “magical bond that females have when we truly, actually want each other to win.” She concluded by referencing that modern classic movie about high school politics, Mean Girls.
“I just don’t want the new females in country music to be misrepresented to the fans or the media as the popular girls in high school that pose for photos like we’re bffs but secretly despise the one that dates the quarterback. And more than that, I don’t want US to feel like that.” Ballerini wrote. “This isn’t mean girls, this is country music. Where you actually CAN sit with us.”